Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter x: Of the Army, Fleet, and Fortresses - An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
Return to Title Page for An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
chapter x: Of the Army, Fleet, and Fortresses - Robert Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor 
An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor, Edited and with an Introduction by Justin Champion (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Of the Army, Fleet, and Fortresses
Having done with the Revenue, I come in the next place to shew how those Sums are expended: And it is certain, that the levying of them is not more grievous to the Subject than the Reason for which they are levied, viz. the Maintenance of a great standing Army: so that the People are Contributors to their own Misery; and their Purses are drain’d in order to their Slavery. Thus the King of France makes the rich Towns he takes be at the Charge of building Citadels to keep themselves in awe: and it is that Master of the Art of Reigning, as his Flatterers call him, that has instructed the Court of Denmark, as well as the other Princes and States of Europe, the pernicious Secret of making one part of the People, both the Bridle and Scourge of the other; which in time must needs end in a general Desolation.
The King of Denmark has been but too apt a Pupil to such a Master, and has endeavoured even to exceed his Original; which he finds to his cost at this day, in raising more Men than his Country can maintain. Soldiers are, through I know not what mistaken Policy, esteemed the Riches of the Northern Kings, and other German Princes; for when they make an estimate of each others Wealth, it is not by the usual and ancient manner of Computation, the Fertility or Extent of the Territory, the Traffick, Industry, Number, or Riches of the People; but by so many Horse and Foot. For the subsistence of which they are forced, after they have eaten up their own Subjects, to make use of a hundred cruel and unjust Shifts, to the Ruin of their Neighbours. And when they cannot accomplish such a destructive Project in the manner they wish, then they are constrained to foment Quarrels between more potent Princes, that they may have the opportunity of selling to one or other those Forces which themselves cannot possibly maintain: so that at present Soldiers are grown to be as saleable Ware, as Sheep or Oxen, and are as little concern’d when they are sold; for provided the Officers be rendered content by the Purchaser, in having liberty to plunder the laborious and honest Country People in their Marches, and a fat Winter-quarter, with Permission to defraud their own Men of their Pay: the common Soldier goes with no more sense than a Beast to the Slaughter; having no such Sentiment, as Love of Honour, Country, Religion, Liberty, or any thing more than mere fear of being hanged for a Deserter.
But this mischievous Custom of Princes esteeming Soldiers the only true Riches, was first begun and established by the French King, and is grown general by his Care to cultivate this Opinion in the Minds of the German Princes, whose poor Countries he foresees will be soon ruined by such a practice. This he principally aims at, and it has brought Matters to such a pass, that War and Destruction are grown absolutely necessary. For as all Men that lay up Wealth never think they have enough; so these that consider Soldiers as the only Riches, never cease enlarging their Number, till they are necessitated for their Subsistence, either to come to Blows with their Neighbours, or to create Animosities between other; wherein they have found the knack of being employed, and receiving Pay without interesting themselves in the Quarrel. Where this will end, God Almighty knows, and can only prevent the apparent Mischiefs threatened by it, viz. the universal Misery and Depopulation of Europe. For since this Practice is grown so general, none of these Kings or Princes, though endowed with a more peaceable Spirit and better Judgment than the rest, dares lead the Dance, and disarm, for fear of his Armed Neighbours, whose Necessities make them wait only for an opportunity to fall upon him that is worst provided to make Resistance: And this is none of the least Calamities which the French Tyranny has forced upon the World, having reduced all the Princes and Commonwealths of it to this hard choice; either to submit themselves to an intolerable Foreign Yoak, or maintain Vipers at home to gnaw their own Bowels.
But the Consequences of these unjust Practices have been more pernicious to Denmark, than to the French King that set the Example; the Toad may emulate the Ox, and swell, but he shall sooner burst, than equal him. The one goes on in a course of prosperous Tyranny; but the other through an ill Calculation of his own Strength, which is no way proportionable to his Ambition, never hitherto throve in any of his Attempts upon his Neighbours. Hamburg is yet a Free City, and the Duke of Holstein restored to his Possessions; whilst Schonen, Halland, Bleking, and Yempterland remain in the Possession of the Swedes; who in taking up Arms for their own Defence, have had the Fortune to revenge the Injury. And the Danes are constrained to acquiesce in the Loss of those their best Provinces, without any rational hopes of ever recovering them.
A List of the Horse and Foot in the Service of the King of Denmark, which belonged particularly to Denmark, Holstein, and Oldenburg.
Note, That by virtue of a Treaty concluded with the Emperor, there were sent lately into Hungary part of the fore-named Troops under the Command of Col. Rantzaw; Viz.
One Battalion of Lieutenant-General Schack’s Regiment.
One Battalion of Col. Pottcamer’s Regiment.
One Regiment of Horse taken from the former Colonel, and given to one Colonel Wyer.
Colonel Bee’s Regiment of Dragoons, which may be deducted from the Sum Total at the end.
These Reserves are such as receive no Pay in time of Peace, but are like our Militia, only they have Clothes given them once in two years; and are obliged to meet and Exercise every Sunday, if the Weather be fair.
A great Regiment of Foot before the Battalions were drawn out of them for the King of England’s Service, consisted of Nineteen Companies, and so it will be again when these Forces return to Denmark. In the Guards were a great many more.
The charge of one of these great Regiments of Foot amounts to 90,000 Rix Dollars a Year, thus;
The Remainder of the 90 thousand Rix Dollars runs up for the other Officers, Auditor, Quartermaster, Surgeon, Powder, Shot, and other necessary Expenses.
The Common Soldier receives but 17 Stivers a week; the rest goes for Bread, Quarters, and Cloaths, which they have once in three years from head to foot; and in the midst of those three years, Shoes, Stockins, Breeches, Shirt, and Cravat. ’Tis permitted to the Common Soldiers to work where they are quartered; but then during this permission, their Officers receive all the benefit of their pay. The Foot, both Officers and Soldiers, are for the most part Strangers of all Countries, whom Choice or Fortune brings thither; Germans, Poles, Courlanders, Dutch, Swedes, Scotch, Irish, and now and then an English Seaman, whom they make drunk after a long Voyage, and inveigle him by fair Promises, in that humour, to take some of the King’s Money. The Natives are, through their dispirited temper, thought very improper to make Soldiers; and besides, the Landlords, whose Slaves they are, can hinder them from entering into the King’s Service, and can remand them, if any should offer so to do; as has been frequently practised by them, to avoid Misery at home, and to exchange one Slavery for another.
The Officers of the Horse receive no more Pay in time of Peace, than those of the Foot. The Troopers, who are generally Natives, and none of the best Soldiers, are maintained every one by his Peasant, who is bound to give him and his Horse, Meat, Drink, House-room, etc. besides to the value of six shillings sterling a Month; half of which Money goes to his Colonel towards his mounting. The Dragoons are in somewhat a better condition, because they are not obliged to keep Horses, but in time of War; besides, in Holstein they have larger Pay than in Denmark.
In Norway the Forces cost but little, in comparison of what they do elsewhere; for besides the Pay of the Officers, and the Clothing of the Soldiers, not much Money is expended; each single Soldier having Free Quarter amongst the Boors. It is to be noted, that the Officers of this Army are, for the most part, fourteen or eighteen Months in Arrear of Pay; so that the best part of their Maintenance is out of the Common Soldier’s Subsistence Money.
The Names of the General Officers
Thus much shall suffice for the Land. I come now to speak of the Sea-Forces.
The Names of the Admirals, are
There are in Copenhagen 3000 Seamen kept in constant Pay, who go not to Sea unless in time of War, but have a certain small allowance of Money, with a constant weekly provision of Salt Flesh, Stock-fish, Meal, Grout, etc. given them out of the Publick Store-Houses, for the maintenance of themselves, and Families. They have moreover several Streets of small Houses, like Baraques, built regularly for them, by King Christian the Fourth, in one of the Out-skirts of Copenhagen within the Works; where they live Rent-free, and where they leave their Wives and Children when they go to Sea. Their business in time of Peace is to work on the Holm; which is a large Yard with Docks in it, to build Shipping, over-against the King’s Palace in Copenhagen. Here they are employed by turns in all laborious Works belonging to Ships, Guns, Anchors, Cables, drawing of Timber, etc. and so painful is this Toil esteemed, that Criminals of the highest kind are usually condemned to work on this Holm for a certain number of years, or during life, according to the nature of the Offence. Once a year generally, to find exercise for these, some of the Men of War are rigged and equipped with their Guns, etc. and drawn out of Port to sail up and down, between that and Elsignor, for three or four Weeks, or longer, according as the good Weather lasts. The pay of these Mariners in Money is but 8 Rix Dollars yearly for each; and as small as it is, it is so ill discharged, that they mutinied several times, of late years, for want of it, and even besieged the King in his Palace, till some signal Severity towards the principal Mutiniers quelled them. There is usually a year and a halfs Arrears owing to them, and often more; which is the better born, because of their weekly Allowance in Provision; although that be very scanty, especially to such as have many Children to feed.
The best Seamen belonging to the King of Denmark are the Norwegians; but most of these are in the Service of the Dutch, and have their Families established in Holland; from whence it is scarce likely they will ever return home, unless the Dutch use them worse, or the Danes better than hitherto they have done; for the Danish Sea-provision is generally very bad.
All the Officers of the Fleet are in constant Pay, as well in time of Peace as War, which makes them less given to plunder, than those who make use of the short time they are in Commission to enrich themselves as fast as they can.
This Fleet was never set to Sea thus equipped; but this is the Computation the Danes make of their Sea-Forces; and thus much they say in case of necessity they are able to perform.
Some of the biggest of these Ships draw more Water by five or six Foot at the Stern than at the Head, which denotes they are broken-backt; they are all generally lower Masted than ours, and seem more unwieldy. I believe them more proper for the Baltick than the Ocean; if we except some few of the Cruisers, and other Ships which Convoy their Merchant-men to France, Spain and Portugal.
Fortresses Belonging to the King of Denmark
On Bornholm, a Fertile Island in the Baltick Sea, nearest to Sweden of any of this King’s Dominions, are two Fastnesses; one an ancient Castle, the other a Citadel, according to the Modern manner of Fortification, which commands the best Road in the Island called Roena. It was finished in the Year 1689 and has good Bastions and Out-works.
Christian’s Oye, about seven English Miles North-west from Born-holm, being a number of little Islands which enclose a safe Harbour for thirty Sail; the largest Isle, in form of a Crescent, is well fortified. In the Island Mûne at Stege, a small Town, is an ancient Castle of little Defence, where there is a Garrison.
In Laland, all that looks like strength, is the Town of Naxkew, and an old Castle called Allholm; but they are of no great Defence.
In Zealand, first, the Town of Copenhagen is well fortified, but the Works are only Earth. Secondly, The Castle of Cronenberg near Elsignor, which is now near finishing, and is faced with Brick. It is an irregular, but good Fortification. Thirdly, Corsoer, a small Earthen Fortress over against Funen.
In Funen, the Town of Nyburg is pretty well fortified towards the Sea; but towards the Land the Works are out of repair.
In Holstein there is, first, Glucstadt, a well fortified Town upon the River Elb, which because of its Neighbourhood to Hamburg is kept in a good condition. Secondly, Cremp, a Town within three English Miles of the former, near the River Stoer, in no extraordinary repair. Thirdly, Hitlar Scance on an Island, twelve English Miles from Hamburg. Fourthly, Rendsburg, on the Borders between Holstein and Sleswick, and on the River Eyder; this Place is now enlarging, the Bulwarks and Outwarks are facing with Brick; it will be a Royal Fortification, and is the most considerable Place the King of Denmark has, both for Strength and Situation. Fifthly, Christian’s Prize, or Frederick’s Ort, (for it has two Names) situated at the entrance of the Haven of the City of Kiel on the Baltick. It is commanded by a Hill one hundred and twelve Roods North from it.
In Jutland, first Fredericia, a very well fortified Town, being a Pass over the Little Belt. Secondly, Hall, a small Fortress on the North-side the Entrance of the River that leads to Alburg. Thirdly, at Flatstrand, twenty English Miles South of the Scagen Point, is a Schance and a small Fort for the Defence of the Haven.
To the Southward of the North Cape of Lapland is a Fort of six Bastions, called Wardhuys. And in Norway there is, first, Drontheim, guarded to the Sea by a strong Castle, called Monkholm, (where Monsieur Griffenfelt is at present kept close Prisoner) and to the Land by a strong Citadel. Secondly, Bergen, a very strong Place towards the Sea, and environed with high Mountains, which make it inaccessible by Land; ’twas here the Dutch East-India Ships sheltered themselves, when the English Fleet, under the Command of the Earl of Sandwich, attacked them unsuccessfully. The Danes had passed their word, that they would deliver them up; but some seasonable Presents which the Hollanders made at Court, prevailed so far, as to make them break it; which occasioned the Hollanders Safety, and our Disgrace. Fourthly, Christiania, the Capital of Norway; it has a strong Citadel. Fifthly, Larwick, a slight Fortification. Sixthly, Fred-erickstadt, a place which has good Works, but built on a bad Foundation. Seventhly, Wingar Castle, a Pass on the Borders of Norway. Eighthly, Frederick’s-hall, a place well fortified, but much commanded by a Hill one hundred Rood from it. Ninthly, a Fort at Fleckero, near the Town of Christiansandt.
In the East-Indies the King has a small Fortress called Tranquebar, on the Coast of Coromandel: In Guiney another called Christiansburg; and a third in the Island of St. Thomas in the West-Indies, which commands the only good Port in all those Parts, wherein Ships take shelter during the Season of the Hurricanes.
One may easily judge that such an Army and Fleet, with so many Fortresses, cannot be maintained as they ought, without a very great Purse. The former Chapter gives a just account of the Revenue; and the Military Expenses may be guessed at by this: There is over and above all these, the Charge of the Civil List, the maintenance of the Court, King’s Children, Publick Ministers, etc. Whether the Income bears proportion to all these Expenses, and would be sufficient without the assistance of Foreign Money, is left to the determination of such as are skill’d in Calculating.